If a picture is indeed worth a thousand words, the Kenosha community has recently some volumes of words that come from pictures none of us ever imagined we would ever see. The little lady in this picture is Honey Nicole. She was a guest at our house this summer. Honey and my granddaughter swam in our kiddie pool while her mom and my daughter caught up on their good times of the past. Honey is a little ball of cute. But like my granddaughter, Honey is one of the countless young people that this unrest is all about.
All of Kenosha got a baptism of fire on “the issues of the day” that is for sure. And much like the rest of the country, no one here can agree on what they saw, who was to blame, and what the next steps are. Perhaps those answers are forthcoming but I for one am not overly optimistic. Everyone has sided up and done little more than verify first hand, that which we all knew before Kenosha burned…it is the other guy’s fault. The massive clean-up and goodwill that took place in the aftermath was inspiring and showed the world what people from Kenosha are all about.
But what about the issues that caused this insanity? Our city was ravaged…do we think anything will come of it? The city government certainly seems to be falling in line with the national narrative in terms of who and what. So do we roll with this punch and then wake up 6 months from now realizing we burned and people died for nothing? It is hard if not impossible to believe otherwise when looking at the root cause of the initial unrest. It has never really been addressed in the past and still has not. And with this political insanity factored in, even the optimist becomes a skeptic. And that scares the hell out anyone with a child of color.
The only answer to come out of this can not just be that Kenosha took a punch to the face and stayed strong. There has to be more. A lot fuckin more. And one side of the political joke we see is not gonna fix this. Who is anyone demanding change from? Who is listening? Who’s job is it? How many different voices are to be heard from peaceful and violent protests? This is a real issue that has not been touched in 30 years. And there is PLENTY of blame to go around, and the fool believes that the responsibility lies with one political party or the other. To quote the great Stephen Stills, “nobody’s right if everybody’s wrong”.
So I ask this for Honey. And I ask this for my granddaughter. And I ask this for anyone that lives in fear or seeks equality. Who is listening? Who really cares? The pastors care. The social workers care. Much of everyday America cares. And that is simply not good enough. And the easy answer is to get out and vote. Vote for who exactly? A man that comes to Kenosha and essentially dances around the issue of police reform or the man who comes to Kenosha with a woeful record and currently campaigns on issues he has been on all sides of in 40 plus years? One of these two is going to successfully address police reform and racial equality? Call me a skeptic.
It starts in the home. I trust Honey’s mom more than I trust ANY politician. I trust my daughter and my wife and family more than I trust ANY politician. The education of “what is” must come from within. And the suggestion is this, rely on no one. Trust no one. Believe no one. Make someone earn your vote. Listen way more than you speak and have no predetermined course of action. The little girl in this picture is our future. My grandchildren and your young ones are our future. If we allow this division to continue with no real action, with no real change, we will have only ourselves to blame. Stop looking for a politician to save the day, they have proven beyond a shadow of a doubt they have little interest in our problems.